Sudbury

MFM starts mentorship program for Indigenous northern Ontario musicians

Music and Film in Motion is hoping to connect emerging Indigenous musicians from northern Ontario with mentors in the industry

Group leading pilot program matching mentors with aspiring artists to offer advice, guidance

Thunder Bay-based singer-songwriter Nick Sherman is one of MFM's mentors who will be helping aspiring musicians into the industry. (Twitter: @CBCNickSherman)

Music and Film in Motion is hoping to connect emerging Indigenous musicians from northern Ontario with mentors in the industry.

The Sudbury-based grassroots music industry association launched its Indigenous Music Mentorship Program this week.

Jen McKerral, the group's outreach officer, said they're seeking submissions from all across northern Ontario. They have three mentors available to offer advice and guidance to participants.

She said although the north is a supportive community, its geography sometimes poses a challenge.

"It can create this feeling that you're so far away from everything and that you don't really belong in this network," McKerral said.

"And that's one thing we're really trying to achieve with this is to create those one-on-one connections with other people who understand what that's like and can be that lifeline when they need it."

Jen McKerral, MFM's outreach officer, said the group is seeking submissions from all across northern Ontario, and have three Indigenous mentors available to offer advice and guidance to participants. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

Melody McKiver, an Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist and arts educator from Sioux Lookout has joined the team as a mentor, as well as Nick Sherman, a singer-songwriter from Thunder Bay, and Josh Deperry, also known as Classic Roots, a Thunder Bay musician, producer and educator.

The mentors will look over the submissions, then pick their mentee.

"If [the mentor] sees an artist that has these needs that really resonate with them, whether it's an experience that they've been through or something they've learned recently that they really feel they can speak to….I think that's how those connections and those selections will happen," McKerral said.

The mentors will then meet one-on-one once a month for six months with their Indigenous participant, offering guidance, advice, mentorship and insight into how to make it in the industry.

McKerral said musicians and songwriters who apply must identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit, and be based in northern Ontario, regardless of distance or internet connection

Submissions to the program can be made over the next three weeks on the Music and Film In Motion website.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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